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On the railways by-passing Tbilisi

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 21
Recently Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava has promoted the idea of removing the railways passing through Tbilisi to the outskirts of the city. On the one hand this will facilitate a better circulation of trains outside the city and on the other it will free space inside the city itself.

The project envisages removing the railway tracks and all the necessary technical facilities and infrastructure between the Didube and Navtlughi stations, which are about 10 kilometres apart. This will free around 1,800 hectares of land. This land could be used for the construction of a motorway and different office buildings and businesses. A new railway line with appropriate infrastructure which by-passes the centre of the city will be laid. The project will take approximately 3 years to complete and the funds for it would most probably be allotted by EBRD and the European Investment Bank.

This idea is quite progressive and acceptable in general, but the approximate cost of building a completely new railway infrastructure is EURO 290 million. Some analysts think that in this time of economic crisis undertaking such a large scale and costly project is not appropriate. Gia Khukhashvili thinks that in the current situation the project is not viable. There is already a surplus of reconstructed but empty office buildings in the city. On the other hand starting a project which will benefit the city might stimulate the countryís economy by creating extra jobs.

Removing railway tracks from the centre of Tbilisi has been discussed for quite a long time but it was not technically or financially possible to do this until recently. Letís hope that the money can be found and the project will be fulfilled eventually.